Carbohydrate Counting for Patients With Diabetes Review Date 4/08 D-0503
Program Purpose • To increase knowledge of carbohydrate-counting skills for those caring for patients with diabetes • All health professionals should have a sound knowledge base of carbohydrate counting—a skill needed by all health care professionals caring for patients with diabetes
Program Objectives At the end of the session you will know how to: • Define carbohydrate counting • Identify the relationship between carbohydrates and blood sugar • Determine the grams of carbohydrate in foods when using the nutritional food label and other carbohydrate-counting tools • Calculate the total grams of carbohydrate/meal
Carbohydrate (CHO) Counting Defined • A meal-planning approach for all patients with diabetes, based on the following ideas: • Carbohydrate is the main nutrient affecting postprandial glycemic response • Total amount of carbohydrates consumed is more important than the source of carbohydrates
Benefits of Carbohydrate Counting • More flexible than other meal-planning methods • Sugar is not forbidden • Focuses attention on the foods that are most likely to make blood glucose levels go up
Foods That Contain Carbohydrates • Breads, cereals, pasta, and grains • Rice, beans, and starchy vegetables (potatoes, corn, peas) • Fruit and fruit juices • Milk and yogurt • Regular soda, fruit drinks, jelly beans, and gum drops • Cakes, cookies, and chocolate candy
Grams of Carbohydrate(per Food Category) • Starch and Fruit: 1 serving equals about 15 g carbohydrate • Milk: 1 serving equals about 12 g carbohydrate • Vegetables: 1 serving equals about 5 g carbohydrate *Please see handout on carbohydrate foods
Vegetables Vegetables are counted as 5 g carbohydrate for the following servings sizes: • ½ C cooked vegetables • 1 C raw vegetables
Foods Without Carbohydrate Examples: • Protein: Meat, fish, poultry, cheese, eggs, peanut butter, cottage cheese, tofu • Fat: Butter, oils, margarine, mayonnaise, cream cheese, sour cream, nuts, seeds, avocado, salad dressing Protein and fat groups contain 0 g carbohydrate
Relationship Between Carbohydrate and Blood Sugar • The digestive system converts most digestible carbohydrates into glucose (also known as blood sugar) • Cells are designed to use this as a universal energy source • As blood sugar levels rise in a nondiabetic individual, beta cells in the pancreas churn out more and more insulin, a hormone that signals cells to absorb blood sugar for energy or storage
Carbohydrate and Blood Sugar in Diabetes • Individuals with type 1 diabetes—the pancreas does not make any insulin so their cells can't absorb sugar • Individuals with type 2 diabetes—the pancreas does not make enough insulin or the insulin is not effective because the cells are insulin resistant • Carbohydrates begin to raise blood glucose within approximately 5 minutes after initiation of food intake • Carbohydrates are converted to nearly 100% blood glucose within about 2 hours
Carbohydrate and Blood Sugar in Diabetes • The focus of carbohydrate counting is on the 1 nutrient that most impacts blood glucose • Carbohydrate is the primary nutrient affecting blood glucose levels • Individuals can learn to relate carbohydrate intake with their blood glucose results
Carbohydrate and Blood Sugar in Diabetes • All patients with diabetes should test their blood glucose before and 2 hours after the first bite of the meal • This is the only way to tell how the choices and amount of carbohydrates consumed affect their blood sugar
Blood Sugar Target Ranges • Fasting/before meals: 90-130 mg/dL • After meals (2 hours after first bite): <180 mg/dL or 30-50 mg/dL increase from premeal to postmeal
Carbohydrate and Blood Sugar in Diabetes—Example • Mr. S consumed 90 g of carbohydrate for breakfast (day 1) • Blood sugar premeal=115 mg/dL • Blood sugar postmeal=205 mg/dL • Mr. S consumed 45 g of carbohydrate for breakfast (day 2) • Blood sugar premeal=125 mg/dL • Blood sugar postmeal=150 mg/dL
Carbohydrate Substituting • When carbohydrate counting, it is possible to substitute 1 food item for another for a similar impact on blood glucose • Example: Exchange 1 small apple (4 oz) for 2 small cookies for a similar effect on blood glucose
Food Labels Total Carbohydrate—includes grams of sugar, sugar alcohol, starch, and dietary fiber Total Grams of Carbohydrate—to determine amount of carbohydrate eaten,multiply grams of total carbohydrates on the label by the number of servings eaten
Food Labels • Example: You just ate 10 crackers from the previous label • There are 2 crackers/serving • How many servings did you eat? • 5 • How many total carbohydrates did you consume? • 10 g/serving x 5 servings=50 g
Tools for Carbohydrate Counting Nutrition Labels Measuring Tools
Carbohydrate Allowances for Meals and Snacks • Patients with diabetes should work with a registered dietitian or certified diabetes educator to receive an individualized meal plan, which includes how many total carbohydrates they should consume at meals and snacks • A general guideline for patients is 45-60 g/meal and 15-30 g/snack
Sample Menu Breakfast 1½ C of Cheerios=? Small banana (4 oz)=? 8-fl-oz 1% milk=? 1 egg=? *See handout How many carbohydrates are in this meal?
Sample Menu Breakfast Answers 1½ C Cheerios=30 g Small banana (4 oz)=15 g 8-fl-oz 1% milk=12 g 1 egg=0 g TOTAL= 57 g
Sample Menu Lunch 2 slices of bread=? 17 grapes=? 1 C raw carrots=? 3 oz tuna fish=? 1 tsp mayonnaise=? *See handout How many carbohydrates are in this meal?
Sample Menu Lunch Answers 2 slices of bread=30 g 17 grapes=15 g 1 C raw carrots=5 g 3 oz tuna fish=0 g 1 tsp mayonnaise=0 g TOTAL= 50 g
Sample Menu Dinner 1½ C pasta=? 1 oz of bread=? 1 C salad =? 1 tsp olive oil=? *See handout How many carbohydrates are in this meal?
Sample Menu Dinner Answers 1½ C pasta=68 g 1 oz of bread=15 g 1 C salad =5 g 1 tsp olive oil= 0 g TOTAL=88 g
Conclusions • Carbohydrate counting is a meal-planning approach to help people with diabetes attain and maintain blood sugar control • Carbohydrate counting provides flexibility and helps people increase their confidence to manage diabetes • Patients should consult a registered dietitian or certified diabetes educator to help them master carbohydrate-counting skills
References • Thomas E. Survey reveals shortfall in pediatric nurses' knowledge of diabetes. J Diabetes Nurs. 2004;8:217-221. • American Dietetic Association, American Diabetes Association. Exchange Lists for Meal Planning. 2nd ed. Alexandria, VA: American Diabetes Association; 2003. • American Diabetes Association. Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2007;30:S4-S41. • Warshaw H, Kulkarni K. American Diabetes Association Complete Guide to Carbohydrate Counting. Alexandria, VA: American Diabetes Association; 2004. • Warshaw H, Bolderman K. Practical Carbohydrate Counting. A How to Teach Guide for Health Professionals. Alexandria, VA: American Diabetes Association; 2001.
Thank You! Questions?